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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

True Blood, Season 7

I've now watched all seven seasons of True Blood, HBO's Southern Gothic soap opera about vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other things that go bump in the night. It was time for the show to go--they introduced so many new characters over the past two seasons I had trouble remember who was who, and the storylines got more and more ridiculous--but I felt a little tear come to my eye at the very end. It's hard to follow characters for seven years and not feel a little something about them when they go.

This season basically had two storylines. The first, wrapped up halfway through the year, was a continuation of last year. Vampires afflicted with "hep-V," which seemed a clear metaphor for AIDS, were roaming the countryside, feeding their insatiable hunger for blood. The "good" vampires of Bon Temps, the epicenter of the show, got together to not only wipe them out, but also the concerned citizens who wanted to kill all vampires. I find this interesting. True Blood has always been a metaphor for the mainstreaming of gay culture, as vampires "came out of the coffin" in the first season and slowly gained acceptance. But here, it seems, the vampires who assimilate have always been held in higher regard than those who don't want to or can't. Discuss amongst yourselves.

The second plot thread involved the cure for hep-V, which turned out to be in the blood of Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), the former evangelist's wife who sought to destroy all vampires. She is hunted by the dynamic duo of Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Kristina Bauer van Stratten), and then by a Japanese corporation backed by the Yakuza. Eric, who had hep-V, cured himself, but Bill Compton (Steven Moyer), the hero of our story, didn't want to. He preferred the "true death."

The spine of the show was always the on-again/off-again romance between Moyer and Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), and it justly ended with it's conclusion. The last episode classically features a major death and a wedding, but I won't spoil it by saying who dies and who gets married. As it figures in a final season, some major characters bite the dust, but when you are a show about the supernatural some people just don't stay dead.

I've always admired the show's combination of gore, sex, and humor, particularly the latter. True Blood could have been classified as a comedy. I think the show is summed up by a shot late in the final episode, when Skarsgard has dispatched some of the Yakuza and has their bodies in the back seat of his car. His face is covered with blood, and he's listening to a rock song on the radio, his head bobbing to the beat.

There are some characters I will miss. I kind of got tired of Sookie, so self-righteous and always in the middle of things. Instead I was always pleased by the antics of her brother, the priapic man-child Jason, played by Ryan Kwanten, who deserved an Emmy (it was so weird hearing him in a round table on the features portion--he's Australian, and hearing his real accent was unnerving). I also liked the gruff but soft-hearted Sheriff Andy Bellefleur, played by the wonderful Chris Bauer. He officiates at the wedding at the end, and the bride happens to be a vampire who killed several of his children. Such is the nature of True Blood--forgiveness reigns supreme.

The show is unlike anything I've seen on TV or at the movies. Creator Alan Ball, who also made Six Feet Under (unseen by me) and wrote American Beauty worked wonders with the concept.

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